There’s always a bit of hoo-ha about the banality of Instagram posts and the self-centered snaps that we plate up to the world on a daily basis. Rather than taking a ticket with the cynics, I’m a firm believer in going mad crazy with whatever floats your boat on the app.
If you want to share with the world how many potted fig trees you can place in your lounge room, or give a blow-by-blow pictorial essay on how you’ve managed to massacre the recipes of Ottolenghi, knock yourself out.
If your dream is to sell macramé bikinis made from surplus cat hair on Etsy and you want to post about it, I’m in favour. If you need to show the world that you have spent the best part of a week arranging some trendy glazed pots on a sideboard next to a turd covered birds nest, I’m not the guy to stop you.
Glass of crappy sparkling next to your boarding pass to LA? Sweet! Even if you are the 100th person to post the steps of Hotel Hotel in Canberra on my feed this year, I’m still happy. I don’t even object to the endless inspirational quotes, including ‘Fat is your sweat crying’ or ‘Find your tribe, then work out how to make shitloads of cash out of them!’
It’s all part of the constant flow of information that we can choose to engage with or not. I won’t stand in judgement, after all I once spent an afternoon posting my favourite Australian Postage Stamp designs from the early 1970s. (Thanks for all the unfollows guys).
Of course the ‘social’ bit of the media works when we like, comment or follow. I’ve always been wary of people who follow few people, because they’re a bit like that person at a party who talks but never listens. To me, the ‘social’ element works best in the digital world, but sometimes it crosses over into the real world, and when it does it can be very, very frightening.
I was at a recent event with my wife when hundreds of social media connected ladies found themselves physically in the same room for the first time. I was cowering in the corner with a glass of sponsored rosé in my hand within minutes.
It was like a zombie apocalypse, except instead of zombies it was a group of Insta Ladies heaving in unison, all clinically taking pictures like they were at a crime scene. They only stopped to check for likes, and to introduce themselves to somebody by their Instagram handle. They were frothing and fangirling. I was very afraid.
As they swarmed, I retreated, hiding behind something made of cane. If the apocalypse did get out of hand, I was ready to fend them off with a copy of Shelter by Kara Rosenlund.
Things went into overdrive when Megan Morton arrived. They converged like they were ready to rip off a chunk of her flesh. I ran out the door quicker than you can say ‘Sibella Court has a sale on’, hid in the pub down the road and waited for my wife. Some things need to stay in the digital world.
Jeffrey Phillips is an editorial and commercial illustrator based in Melbourne.